MOGADISHU- The recent unannounced destruction of several informal settlements on the outskirts of Mogadishu, together with the forced evictions of thousands of families living there, are having devastating effects on children, UNICEF and Save the Children said today.
More than 4000 families lost their property and many lost their livelihoods, during the evictions at more than 21 settlements at Km13, Kahda district on 29 and 30 December. The majority were women and children who had arrived only months earlier, often after travelling long distances to escape drought and conflict. The evictions were done with no prior consultations. Requests by the community for time to collect their belongings and to safely vacate were not granted.
Many of the children living in the settlements saw the destruction by armed men and bulldozers firsthand, first losing their schools and shelters, books and belongings, and then contact with classmates and friends.
The forced evictions have impacted more than 3000 school children. Four schools were destroyed; a Child Friendly Space providing a protected area for children to enjoy activities, games and informal education was demolished; as was a space providing services to survivors of Gender-Based Violence.
The evicted families have moved into schools and public buildings in other IDP camps with some children living in the open or on the streets, without any shelter. The children and their families need urgent support including health and nutrition services, safe water and sanitation, and education and psychosocial support to help them recover from the traumatic experience of becoming homeless and losing their belongings.
UNICEF and partners reacted swiftly, providing temporary access to safe drinking water for 2000 affected households. Quick work by community education committees saved three schools, relocating the portable structures which are again operational. Meanwhile, two of the destroyed schools are being reestablished in new settlements. UNICEF’s partners reunited 35 children and four adults with disabilities with their families, counselled dozens of children and adults, and provided medical support for 35 children. Nutrition partners continue to deliver lifesaving services in outreach clinics in the new locations of the evicted families.
Save the Children is providing 400 households with kits of non-food items including blankets, plastic sheeting, laundry soap, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, and is giving 200 households cash assistance.
UNICEF and Save the Children are calling on authorities to ensure all affected children are fully supported and are relocated with their families to safe areas; and to prevent any future unannounced evictions of vulnerable IDP settlements.